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BIMSTEC countries pledge to work together to realise potentials

Published : 10 Mar 2023 02:19 AM

The members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) have pledged to work together to realise potentials of the even countries grouping in the foreign ministers meeting held on Thursday in a virtual platform.

This was the 19th BIMSTEC ministerial meeting. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen led the Bangladesh delegation.

In his deliberations, the foreign ministry said, Dr. Momen reiterated Bangladesh’s commitment to the BIMSTEC process and emphasised that BIMSTEC Member States need to work together to realize the huge untapped potentials of the region.

As the Lead Country for cooperation in the Trade, Investment and Development sector, Dr. Momen outlined Bangladesh’s effort to enhance investment and trade relations across the platform and expressed Bangladesh’s keen interest in finalizing the legal instruments for the BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

He called upon the Member States for greater commitments so that the BIMSTEC FTA could be implemented as early as possible.

The meeting assessed the progress made so far since the Fifth BIMSTEC Summit held on 30 March 2022 including the implementation of various decisions taken during the summit.

The meeting approved the 'Rules of Procedure' for all the BIMSTEC mechanisms, including several administrative and financial matters of the BIMSTEC Secretariat for adoption at the Sixth BIMSTEC Summit proposed to be held later this year.

The Meeting approved the draft text of the ‘Agreement on Maritime Transport Cooperation’ as well as the ‘BIMSTEC Bangkok Vision 2030’.

The inclusion of Blue Economy, Mountain Economy and Poverty Alleviation under the purview of the reconstituted sectors/subsectors of BIMSTEC cooperation was approved by the meeting. The cooperation in the Blue Economy will be led by Bangladesh.

 At the conclusion of the meeting, the Heads of Delegations issued a ‘Joint Statement’ elaborating actions to be taken in different areas of cooperation to promote active collaborations in matters of mutual interests in the economic, social, technical, cultural and scientific fields to build a prosperous, resilient and result oriented  BIMSTEC.

 The meeting discussed the tentative schedule of the Sixth BIMSTEC Summit to be held in November 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand, in which Bangladesh is supposed to assume the Chairmanship of BIMSTEC.

 BIMSTEC is a regional organization that was established on 06 June 1997 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration. Initially known as BIST-EC (Bangladesh-India-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Cooperation), the organisation is now known as BIMSTEC and comprises seven Member States with the admission of Myanmar on 22 December 1997, and Bhutan and Nepal in February 2004.

 On 06 June 1997, representatives of the Governments of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand came together in Bangkok, and signed the ‘Declaration on the Establishment of the Bangladesh–India–Sri Lanka–Thailand Economic Cooperation (BIST-EC)’.